The play-offs begin for the newly franchised Niagara United on Sunday 14th October 2012 with an away clash against top seed Toronto Croatia. Despite being new to the league Niagara will be looking to put the cat amongst the pigeons and cause a serious upset. And looking to be a part of the attack will be Derek Paterson. The offensive minded player took time out of his preparations to chat exclusively to www.soccernightexclusive.wordpress.com about his 2012 CSL journey and who he follows in Major League Soccer.

For all the British readers who are unfamiliar with you, how would you describe your playing styles as well as your strengths ?

I’m an attacking minded, left footed player. I like to think my strengths are getting forward from the midfield, and create plays offensively.

What age did you begin playing soccer and How did you get into the sport ?

I have a lot of family involved in soccer at one level or another, I started playing at a young age (4 or 5) locally in Niagara Falls.

During your growing up stages as a soccer player who would you say has been your biggest inspiration ?

Growing up my Dad was definitely my biggest inspiration as far as soccer goes. He taught me how to play and really created my passion for the game.

You play for Niagara United in the CSL. What is the standard of soccer like in the CSL ?

I’ve grown up watching the Canadian Soccer League and I think with every passing season the level of play improves. In this inaugural season for Niagara United we’ve learnt how to compete with the top clubs in the CSL, but also that no points can be taken for granted. The play-off race that came right down to the wire proves that.

Many of the British readers will be unclear on the CSL, how does the structure of the league work in terms of play-offs and the champions being crowned ?

This season the CSL expanded to 16 teams accepting 3 expansion clubs (Niagara United, SC Waterloo, Kingston FC). After a 22 game season, 8 of the 16 teams enter a single elimination play-off system.

Niagara United secured a playoff spot with one game remaining. How has the season gone thus far from your view point ?

Niagara United has a lot to be proud of so far in 2012. We’ve secured a playoff spot in both the 1st team and reserve divisions, and I think we’re set up to make great strides moving forward. We had a rough patch mid-summer but I think the way we finished up the season shows a ton of character.

With Niagara United being in existence one season, what is the club looking to achieve in 2013 or is that looking too far ahead at present ?

Right now were obviously focused on the 2012 playoffs, but I think what we’ve accomplished this season sets a high standard that needs to be maintained/built on over the next few seasons.

Jim McGillivray is a born Scotsman. How would you describe his playing philosophy and his attributes as a person too ?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with James over the last few seasons and it’s exciting that the club is buying into his playing philosophy. His style of play is based around possession and you can’t say enough about his work ethic on and off the pitch. His passion rubs off on his players, and I don’t really have anything negative to say about him aside from the fact that he supports Celtic.

MLS sides Toronto FC and Montreal Impact have academy sides in the CSL, how would you describe the standard of these teams ?

Montreal Impact and Toronto FC have actually drawn each other in the 1st round of the CSL playoffs, so I’m sure that’ll be a match-up a lot of supporters will be keeping a close eye on. We had the pleasure of hosting both clubs at Niagara United this season and I was thoroughly impressed. It’s exciting that these players get a chance to develop in Canada’s only professional league.

Who in the current first teams of Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, have you competed against during your time in the CSL?

Over the years I’ve played against Ashtone Morgan, Matt Stinson, Evan James, some of the younger up and coming Canadian players for both Toronto FC and Montreal. Russell Tiebert of the Vancouver Whitecaps is a Niagara Falls native and childhood friend of mine also.

Do you follow any MLS side in particular ?

I keep tabs on all 3 Canadian MLS teams. I try to make it to BMO for as many Toronto FC and Canadian National team matches as I can.

Have you had any offers from any MLS or even NASL clubs ?

No I haven’t.

What advice would you give to any youngsters looking to make a career in soccer?

The biggest thing I would tell youngsters is just to get as many touches on the ball as possible, and to always train/practice the skills that do not come as easily.

Where would you like to see your career in five years’ time ?

My ambition has always been to play at the highest level possible. So hopefully in five years I will be doing that.

Best Game You’ve Played

3 goals in a 3-1 win (@ London City, CSL reserve league 2011)

Best Goal Scored

Without a doubt scoring the 1st goal for Niagara United in the CSL 1st Division. Wasn’t pretty. But I’ll never forget it!

Best Player Played Alongside

Probably Russell Tiebert, he’s now playing like I said with the Vancouver Whitecaps 1st team.

Best Player Played Against

Probably Tihomir Maletic of Toronto Croatia, that we will see this weekend. He`s always a goal scoring threat, and he’s proved that with numerous league championships and MVP awards.

Best Friend In Soccer

Brad Gemmell (Niagara United Reserve Keeper), Johnny Bahdi ( Niagara United Reserve Captain, University of Windsor Lancers)

Favourite Stadium

Even though I’ve never been i would have to say Ibrox as I grew up supporting Rangers.
Kalar Sports Park isn’t too shabby either though…..

Team Supported Growing Up

Glasgow Rangers (insert joke here).

Favourite Food

Chicken Parm.

Favourite Drink

Cold Beer.

Favourite Vacation Destination

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Favourite Film

‘There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble ‘

Favourite Music

Rock and Roll.

First Car

02 Pontiac Sunfire.

Hobbies And Interests Outside Of Soccer

Golf, Diehard Toronto Maple Leafs Fan.

What Would You Do If You Won $1Million

I would probably set some aside for each of my family members, and try and buy some real estate.

Teammates – Niagara United

Loudest

Matt Waddington.

Quietest

Ben N`Goran.

Best Trainer

Christopher Harrington.

Biggest Moaner

Aaron Vanvelzen.

Biggest Joker

Tony Mermigas.

Most Skilful

Jason Devenish.

Worse Taste In Music

Lucas Folino.

Worse Dress Sense

Michael Palomba.

I would like to personally thank Derek for his time and efforts during the interview process.

By Anthony Bedworth

@maplesoccer123

@usbritain05

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